Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 3rd 2013 Contents "When I reach by the door
and I see how many people
in the classroom I wanted to
die because I say, Oh gosh,
all these people would know
about my problem. I can t
take this. " Susan Clarke, Alta
Adult literacy learners must
face several challenges on the
way to the classroom, the first,
and perhaps most difficult of
these being mustering up the
courage to register themselves
for class. Taking the step to
register means that the poten-
tial student has, to some
degree, confronted self-doubt,
negativity from family, friends
and society-at-large, and even
A very close second to this
registration hurdle is the walk
into the classroom. Alta
founder Paula Lucie-Smith
recalls noticing a young man
walk past the door to her class
going in one direction, then
shortly after walking by in the
opposite direction, only to
make another pass some min-
utes later. On each pass he
would glance in. Only when
she went out to walk with him
did he manage to make the
turn at the door to enter the
That first day at school
feeling that encompasses a
tinge of excitement swamped
by uncertainty about the
material, your peers and
teachers is familiar to almost
all of us. What follows is a
look at the unique "first day"
experience of entering an
adult literacy class, as related
by Alta students.
Entering an Alta classroom
is often an eye-opener. Stu-
dents come to find that there
is a very diverse group of peo-
ple who are in the same place
they are---taking their first
step to tackle the challenge of
reading and writing. Presencer
Smith-Watts, who began
attending Alta classes in mid-
dle age, recalls her experience:
"I went. I was ashamed, I was
fearful, because I say, ...what
people would say? Big
woman like you can t read?
You have children! But (when
I did go) I realise there were
people older than me there!"
Smith-Watts was motivated
by an inherent belief in herself
that she could improve her
literacy skills, and set clear-
cut goals to that end.
Before the end of her first
lesson, while the teacher was
showing how to divide stu-
dents names into syllables,
she had discovered "I could
read---I just needed to know
how!" Her objective upon
enrolling at Alta was to attain
• Continues on Page A37
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, September 3, 2013
An Alta class in progress at Harvard Sports Club, Serpentine Road, Port-of-Spain.
First day experience at Alta a challenge
Contact the Red Cross: Headquarters - 627-8215/8128, Northern branch - 627-8214, Southern branch - 652-2024, Tobago branch - 639-2781
Before a hurricane:
Know the location of the nearest emergency shelter in your area.
Trim the trees in your yard,so limbs won't fly around during a
If you have hurricane shutters, inspect them now and repair dam-
Know the location of the main electrical breaker and the gas and
water valves in your home.
Make a list of the items in and around your yard to bring in or tie
down when a tropical storm or hurricane approaches. For exam-
ple: TV antenna, plants, garbage cans and yard furniture.
Check your insurance policy for coverage on wind and flood dam-
age, especially if you're in a low-lying area.
Keep a portable radio, flashlight (both with extra batteries),
emergency supplies, first aid kit, canned food and bottled water
on hand throughout the hurricane season.
Keep yourself updated as to the weather conditions and the pos-
sibilities of severe weather.
Have your emergency numbers at hand and in a convenient loca-
Designate an interior room with no windows or external doors as
a "Safe Room."
Determine escape routes and places to meet if separated.
Have an out-of-the-area-friend as a family contact so all have a
single point of contact and someone knows where you are.
Make a plan for your pets if you need to evacuate.
Take First Aid and CPR Classes. Your Red Cross can provide you
with the same.
When a hurricane approaches:
A hurricane watch is given when the hurricane is possible within
When a hurricane is 24 hours away, a hurricane warning is issued.
Hurricane landfall is imminent.
When a hurricane warning is issued, you should board up your
windows and doors, bring in loose items from outside, shut off
electrical, gas and water hook-ups and seek safe shelter.
During a hurricane:
Stay away from windows and stay inside if you are not told to
Beware that the centre of a hurricane, or the eye, can be very
calm and deceptive. When the eye passes, the storm is not over.
Stay inside because the fury of the winds will return, this time
from the opposite direction.
Remain in your safe location until the storm has passed com-
pletely and the all clear has been given.
Are you ready for ahurricane?
Source: The T&T Red Cross Society
As we brace for the unpredictability of
the hurricane season, it is important
to be prepared. Here are some simple
steps to help protect your family from
a storm or hurricane.
T&T Red Cross Society
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